Single mistake costs Sylhet
Sylhet Superstars were left wondering what might have been, for the third time in four days. But while the focal point of their third successive defeat, to Rangpur Riders by six runs, should be a misfiring batting line-up, they were also left wondering whether a single could have been avoided at a crucial stage when the game could still have gone their way.
With eight runs needed off seven balls, the Rangpur captain Shakib Al Hasan set his in-fielders back to the edge of the 30-yard circle to allow the Sylhet No. 11 Ajantha Mendis a single. With Mushfiqur Rahim at the other end, that's what that Shakib was hoping for. Mendis worked that delivery from Darren Sammy on the leg-side, and Mushfiqur called for the single.
Mendis, as a result, faced the first ball of the final over of the innings, with the task of finding another single to get the set batsman Mushfiqur, batting on 25, on strike. He survived a leg-before shout and a run-out off the first ball, before slogging to long-on where Sachithra Senanayake took the crucial catch to end the game.
"We were hoping that they take a single," Shakib said. "It worked in our favour. We wanted to give away that single, so I asked everyone to stay on top of the 30-yard circle. And if we got him, even better. So in that way, it was good for us."
Ravi Bopara, the Sylhet Superstars batsman, later said that he too was surprised to see Mushfiqur and Mendis take that single. But he added that it wasn't the job of the tail to score 110 runs, rather that of the first six batsmen, which they failed to do.
"It doesn't make sense to me why we took that single," Bopara said. "I guess the two batters out there thought that every run is crucial. You got to take the opportunity to score the run. It is not down to the last two batsmen. Your top six has to score the runs. You can't leave it to seven, eight, nine, ten and eleven. But the top six didn't do the job."
"It is very disappointing. It is hard to take it lightly when you lose three games, especially when you lose two games by one run. To be honest, we should be chasing those totals as a professional unit."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84